“What does dark darkness even mean?” I protested quite loudly.
Mum immediately hit me on my shoulder which made my arm jerked back a little from the startle. The lady pulled my hand back towards her. She used both her hands to open my palm wide.
“There there there. Don’t be scared. Even though I saw darkness, I also saw a bright light. It comes from a strong, heated fire.” The lady closed her eyes. Her finger traced an invisible drawing on my palm. It made me tickled. I shuffled a little trying to fight the urge to withdraw my hand.
“Ah ah ahhhhh” she suddenly screamed. With her eyes still closed, she backed away. One of her hand blocked between us as if she was trying to not have to look at my palm. “The fire is so strong. It will chase away any darkness. No, not any fire. Your fire is so strong. Who? Who are you?” She screamed the questions out loud with her eyes still closed and her hands still holding on to mind tightly.
I just stared at the hysterical scene that just happened on her own for no particular reason. I wasn’t going to say anything. But I looked at my mum and she was looking back at me eagerly waiting for me to reply the lady. I rolled my eyes. “Uhm…I guess I work for the city…”
“No not that!” She shook my hand hard, “I want to know your true identity. Your true role assigned by God!”
“My what???” I truly didn’t understand what she was talking about.
“Mum,” after taking a quick breath, I turned to my mum whispering, “this fortune teller of yours doesn’t seem normal. Is she ok?” I grunted at the word “ok”.
“Hey hey hey,” the lady yanked my hand to get my attention, “I’m not just a fortune teller. I’m a mystic! I was chosen by God himself. I can communicate with him directly and he told me that you have a secret identity. That you can burn darkness with fire, that your mystical strength is…”
“Okayyyy. I’m gonna stop you there. I think we are done for today,” I pulled my hand back from hers. I stood up real quick from my chair while grabbing my mum’s arm. “Mum, we should leave. Else we’ll be late. I’ll bring the car over”
“Honey, don’t you want to hear what the lady has to say. She is very good,” mum still tried to convince me though she could already tell that I was more than ready to leave. She put a 100 dollar bill on the table while hurriedly packing her things. She mouthed sorry to the lady while chasing me outside.
Shit, I zipped up my jacket while taking a deep breath inside the car. That was close. I took out my purse to check on the business cards I had in the secret compartment. I wanted to make sure the lady didn’t say the things she said because she happened to see my cards. They were all still there. All the cards that said I was an exorcist.
She sat on the fence looking over the main street. From here, she could see a little bit of the bus station. There was no other way to get to town besides driving and taking a bus. Jim wouldn’t have a car. She was the one dropping him off when he left 2 years ago. When Jim came into town, he would have to take the bus. Where she was sitting was the best seat in the house to keep an eye on the bus station.
“Hey,” a voice came from behind with a tap on the shoulder. She startled.
“Oh my god. Doc, don’t scare me like that!” She let out a sigh of relief, realizing it was just her family good old vet.
“Still waiting huh?” he lighted a cigarette and motioned to ask her if she wanted one. She shook her head.
“The bus was a little late today. Should have came already.”
“Fern, honey” the vet hesitated, “do you still think he will come back?”
“Yeah, I do.” She could hear her own voice light as a feather. “He will be here any day now.”
The vet took a drag from his cigarette, “Fern, the war ended a while ago. Even the last few Americans were taken out of there in April. You don’t think…”
“He said he would be home for my birthday this year,” she cut him off. Her eyes didn’t move from the bus station, “he still have some time. You knew Jim, he’s a man of his words.”
“Fern…” the vet moaned
“As long as,” her voice was shaking “nobody brought me any notice. I can still wait.”
The vet didn’t say anything else. He put his cowboy hat on and leaned onto the fence. He smoked slowly while looking at the same direction Fern did. The sun started to set over the horizon. The dark orange shade of sunset covered the town with a deep sense of nostalgia. Another day was soon to be over.
The wind blew by and she could smell the diesel in the air. The bus was arriving.
Mom used to tell him that all the times. Every time something shitty happened to his family, she said that. And the fact that she said it often means shit happened to his family all the times. Oh, and he wondered why that was the case? Perhaps because his single mom was a gambling addict. No no no. According to his mom, it wasn’t that. It was because they were unlucky and life wanted to test the tough ones.
Her idea of lemon/lemonade was when she lost money, she should place even more the next time around. Because life gave you lemon in the form of losing, and in the true blind American optimistic spirit, you might as well betting more to make more lemonade money. It kind of made sense how the gambling addicts were normally quite optimistic. He meant, how else?
He remembered her stealing his hard earned money that he was saving for a summer camp when he was 8. That was strangely one of the days she won, not millions won, but she did win something. And she came home, not returning his money, while making a speech about lemon and lemonade again, about how that was what positive attitude in life would give him. And at that moment, he knew. He would get the fuck out of there as soon as he could.
At 18, he joined the army. It was a poor boy cliché, joining the army. But that was his fastest ticket out and he couldn’t wait to jump on it. He remembered sitting in the back of his neighbor’s truck leaving town thinking about how his mother’s lemon/lemonade days were over.
He curled up on the bench with his arms wrapping tightly around himself, his hands inside the thick jacket. It was cold tonight. He could see his breaths turning into little misty clouds. He pulled down his beanie to stay warm, but still made sure that he could watch the path in front of him. Days like these were the best for hunting.
He heard footsteps. His legs twitched and the misty clouds of breaths got excited. Someone was coming. He stretched his legs out of the bench slowly and clenched the knife in his hand. Here came the prey.
I used a word generator to create prompts for myself to practice writing 100 words stories. The word this time was “Bench”.
She told me if I had met her during a different time in our lives, we could have been together. I told her I didn’t want to be an asshole but I had to call bullshit on that. We were not Romeo and Juliet. We were not criminals. And even if we were Romeo and Juliet, there were still Romeo and Juliet. And if we were criminals, there were Bonnie and Clyde.
I wasn’t a naive boy who believed love could trump everything. I was a guy who believed in himself. We didn’t live in the ancient times where people got killed over things like this. I made enough money so wherever she was I could always afford a trip. Or even moved there for her. If her parents hated me, I could get us a place for our own. If I met her when I already had a girlfriend but she was the one I loved most, I would choose her. It would be hard but nothing complicated. If I loved her most, I’d do it for her. I expected the same from her.
When we met, she had a boyfriend. It was days of going behind his back for us. I kept it casual until it didn’t feel casual anymore. I asked her what she would like to do now. I told her I would do it for her. She told me if we have met during a different time in our life, then we could have easily been together. But now things were too complicated for her. She didn’t know who to choose. I left. If she did love me most, she would have chosen me. Things were ultimately just that simple. I’d carry the storms of life for her if she loved me. But she didn’t love me enough to choose me so I left.
Then I met you. I waited for you to finish med school in the South. I flew to visit you often. You also came to see me. After school, you moved here to be closer to me. Your parents didn’t like me. They wanted a Southern boy. But we didn’t have to stay with them in the South, I took care of us just fine right here. Loving you was easy. Being with you was not at all complicated. I had to wait for you. I had to fight for you. But that was all the things I was willing to do.
I was a greedy man. I didn’t just want to be loved. I wanted to be loved the most. I wanted every time you thought about me, you didn’t just love me but you also chose me. Between giving up on me and walking the easier path, you chose me. Despite everything in life, you chose me. As long as you still chose me, I’d be there for you. I’d shoulder the burden of life for you. I’d give you my heart to break if you wanted to. Because you were my ultimate choice.
I knew a guy who was pure chaos. Not in the sense that his life was a mess, but in a sense that he lived it chaotically. He was basically a scattered head. Everything had a system, but also not really. The guy was Don.
Don smoked weed almost every night and drank on the nights he didn’t smoke. He was a 59 years old man, not a college kid. But he enjoyed life the exact way he would do as if he was a kid. There was nothing wrong with that. When you were happy and energetic all the time, then you could do whatever you wanted.
I worked with Don doing safety inspections for New York City housing projects. He told me he was from a project himself and his family still lived in one. He was the only one that got out. But it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.
When he was a kid, he was embarrassed because he had to live in the projects. He had to live in a small apartment in one of those red bricks buildings that was signature to the housing projects. From miles away, people could tell that your building was a project building. And that meant they could tell you were poor. Your family was poor.
His mother left South Carolina alone, bringing five kids with her because it was “fucking racist down there”. She was working all types of jobs in New York City feeding 5 kids at home. They never had enough of anything. Don had one pair of shoes for forever. He wore it till it was torn all over and still had to wear it. He was fed up with that, of not having enough, of not having anything decent in his life. So he stole.
He stole only a new pair of shoes at first, cause that was all he needed. But after he stole a pair of shoes and nothing bad happened, he realized that shit was easy. He could do more of this. He could have more and his friends wouldn’t laugh at him for not having anything anymore. So he kept stealing left and right. A little bit at first then a bit more then a bit more. He got greedy and went for bigger scores. And greed was everyone’s downfall. He got caught stealing and was arrested. When he went to jail, his mother was crying. She cried so much that all he remembered from that moment in court was his mother crying her eyes out on the bench.
Don sipped on his shot of tequila while telling me that I was too young to understand, but remembered, always be careful what you wished for. He left the project housing for the first time since he was five. And he went to jail.
When I was nineteen, I left home. It was probably too late or it was probably too early. I couldn’t really tell. I just knew that it was time I should leave.
I didn’t hate my family. I loved them. When I told Mom about leaving, she cried and tried to beg me to stay. Dad was shaking his head asking me multiple times if I had thought this through carefully. I told him I did.
When the day came, I packed my bags and carried them out to the car. Dad helped me. He said at least took his own car so I wouldn’t have to sleep on the street until I found what I was looking for. He was carrying one of my bag out to the trunk when the bag slipped out of his hand and started floating into the air. He froze, dead stared at the floating bag in mid-air. His eyes got watery. He asked me again, if I really wanted to leave and would I be ok out there alone.
I grabbed the bag from mid-air down and put it in the trunk properly. Yes Dad. This was why I had to leave. I got to find a teacher. There must be someone out there that could tell me why I am the way I am and how I can control it. I couldn’t have been the only one in the world. I have telekinesis, but I can’t control it.
When I was young, nobody thought it would be possible for this to even happen. But things around me started to float in mid-air at random. At first, everyone thought it was just the winds. Then it got weirder because it also happened indoors. Then my family realized it was me. I didn’t control anything. Things just floated randomly around me and that scared the heck out of everyone. I was going to elementary school when this happened. When things started floating at school, the kids were scared and the teachers freaked out. They called my parents in, asking many questions in doubt. Dad pretended to scream at them and saying how absurd it was, thinking I had telekinesis. But the next day, he withdrew me from the school and I was home-schooled since then. And we moved to the woods where nobody was around us basically.
Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to make friends in real life. My parents didn’t want the news about a telekinesis kid got out. They always told me to be careful. They knew I couldn’t control my power so there was nothing I could really do about the things floating in the air. All they could tell me was that I should try to hide things as soon as I realized something was floating, or tried to run away as fast as possible so people didn’t figure it was me. If the world knew, who knew what types of experiments they would put me through. Me, being kept secretly somewhere to be experimented on was my parents’ biggest nightmare. My family sacrificed a lot for me. And one day, I decided that I couldn’t keep living like this. I had to do something to fix this situation. I couldn’t live my whole life being a burden to myself and my parents. I had to go out there and find a way.
Mom hugged me really tightly. She kept telling me that I shouldn’t try to hard. If after a while, I couldn’t find anything or anyone out there that could help me, I should come back. Dad added that they would always be here for me. I cried. Because of how willing they were to sacrifice for me, I had to leave.
I kissed them goodbye. My eyes were tearful. I drove away. Today’s newspaper floated in the air.
You tried to ruin me, but I didn’t know any better.
From the first day I met you, I’ve already knew I was trapped. When you were sixteen and people told you they loved you, you believed it, and I did. When you told me you loved me, I knew there was no escape for me. Your eyes, your hand, your warmth, your heated, passionate spirit of a young man – who could resist all that. I fell right into your traps.
Then we were 18. I went to college, you didn’t. You made sure to come to my dorm very often to scare away all the guys that were interested in me. You took me away in your ugly hotrod, to all the beautiful places in the middle of nowhere. Just empty nature of trees, of birds and of us. You told me one day, when you’d make more money, we would go to fancy places like the city folks often do. When you made lifetime promises like that and I said yes, I knew that was it for me. You cornered me for life.
Out of nowhere, you told me you would join the Marines. You didn’t station far but I could only see you during the weekends and holidays. At first I thought that was bad. Then you got deployed. For six months, I didn’t get to see you at all. That wasn’t fair. We waited four years for me to graduate then you left me for half a year on deployment, immediately after only half a year into our marriage. But there was nothing I could do so I let you go.
After you came home from your first tour, we finally got to enjoy our marriage life. We made enough money to go to the fancy places like the city folks do. It took years but you kept your promises. You always do. And I will always remember you as a man of his words.
9/11 happened and you said you had to go. I shouldn’t have let you go. I should have never let you go. I know, I shouldn’t say that. There are many of your colleagues here today. They now would all think how unpatriotic I am for thinking that I should keep you home while the country was in crisis. But…you didn’t come home. You never came home anymore. They gave me a flag and asked me to make a speech at this ceremony. No, not a speech, a eulogy.
I knew very well, that in a eulogy, I should say about how good you were as a man. But all I could think of was how angry I was with me and with you. I should have never let you go and you should have never been such an amazing man. You were such strong, loving and patient of a man that when I found you, I thought I would never need anyone else. You were all I ever needed. You trapped me in your love. That now, when you were no longer here, my life went down the drain with you. You tried to ruin me and you succeeded. My whole life I have not learn to love anyone else but you. So what do I do now?
The only forgiving point I could give you was that you also dedicated your life to me. For your whole life also loved nobody else but me. And didn’t you love me well.
So I hope you rest in peace. May you go to a better place where only the best humans on Earth get to go. I hope you are proud of all the things you’ve achieved, you are proud of me and you are proud of the man you grew up to be. Because I am so proud of you, and I love you so much. But you already knew that. You knew that since we were sixteen.